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Chaka's World Articles, Vol.II
'Chaka Khan:She's Singing Solo Now
and Headed Up The Charts'
{Part I}
(Written By Lynn Darling for The Washington Post on November 30, 1978)

The door to the darkened hotel room opens and Chaka Khan comes in, soft as a shadow, with a shadow's soft silhouette. Dark brown, billowing hair shades into a black velvet coat, and the folds of her loose black blouse settle as she sits down, over a rounding belly. Chaka Khan is five months pregnant.

There has been, by necessity then, a certain softening of her image on this five-week tour, her first solo tour since she left Rufus, the group that pole-vaulted her from obscurity.

The old image was never very hard to figure, at least visually - feathers and leather and halter tops, bras connected by little more than imagination to bikinis cut high on the hips, a mouth that defined desire, movements that defied gravity, cat's eyes, long and smokey, that could narrow in a moment to the thin line that divides temptation from surrender.

Actually, she says it was practicality that engendered the costumes, not the aura of rampant sexuality that seems to somehow have attached itself to her growing reputation. "I designed them", she says, "for the purpose of mobility and so I wouldn't get too hot on stage. It just happened to work out that the bra is the closest to comfortable that a woman can get and still be dressed", and as for the leather, "it was original at the time; no one else was using it". Besides, she says "it saves all that time and money taking silks and satins to the cleaners". Chaka Khan could probably keep a straight face while holding a royal flush.

Still sitting there as the afternoon slips quietly toward her evening concert at Constitution Hall, she seems at odds with the flamboyant persona splashed so lavishly across the cover of Record World and Soul, the articles in Jet, and Circus.

Her first solo album, released in October, is about to go platinum - a million copies sold. Her current tour will take her to 19 dates in 15 cities. Her first solo single, 'I'm Every Woman', was produced by Arif Mardin, a signal in the music industry that Chaka has been singled out by those who place the chips in that world for the push to a position among the superstars of female vocalists, like Diana Ross, Natalie Cole, and Aretha Franklin.
{Continued in Part II}